100 years of Jallianwala Bagh

Probably the first event in Indian History that had my blood boil was the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It is probably the one event that shook the conscience of the nation and to this day kept alive in the memory of all across the country.

The place from where people were fired upon

On that fateful day in 1919, General Dyer who came to the garden in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful gathering of people bearing no arms. The garden which had only one exit while also surrounded by high walls turned into a pile of bodies. The ground became red from blood. The helpless people even tried jumping into the well in the corner in a vain attempt to escape the British brutality.

The narrow entrance to the garden

General Dyer was commended for his action. In fact the committee formed to look into the atrocity gave him a pat on his back. For a nation that blew up the scale of the Black hole event, Jallianwala Bagh showed the double standards of the colonial master. India woke up to fight the tyranny and the flame that was lit in Jallianwala Bagh would fire up the imagination of many a youngsters culminating in the freedom of our country.

The memorial. The way many youngsters we’re taking selfies and posing kind of was the exact opposite of the loss of lives that happened at the place. Maybe it is this freedom for which the sacrifice was made.

I had never seen any pictures of Jallianwala bagh until I stumbled upon it as I walked streets of Amritsar. In fact, it never crossed my mind that the infamous garden is in Amritsar. I was in a hurry to see the Golden Temple and Wagah border that I forgot to research about the other things in Amritsar. My trip was completely unplanned and hence the surprise.

The well in which people jumped to escape the rain of bullets

Outside the gate stands a marble statue commemorating the people who were martyred on that April 19. The agony and suffering of that day is captured in the mass of faces in the marble. While each one of them might have been relegated to an insignificant number in a casualty, this sculpture actually gives everyone an individuality.

The marble sculpture commemorating those who were martyred on that fateful day

As you enter you feel an eerie sense that the history books have given you. The narrow lane leads to the beautiful garden where grass figures if the shooting can be seen. At the other lies the memorial of those who lost their lives and the well of death. At one end the Amar Jyoti keeps burning, while there is also a museum with the important persons who Rose in retaliation to the event.

Chance took me to Jallianwala Bagh in the 100th year of it’s happening. I returned ever more aware to the sacrifices my countrymen made so that I could enjoy the freedom that I possess.

By Vishnu H. Prasad

An Indian Revenue Service Officer of the 71st Batch, I write about my travels, the books I read and people I meet.

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